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Old 26 June 2008, 07:58   #1
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Accidents are a thing of the past

WHY? Because there is no such thing anymore - they always want to blame someone.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7475127.stm

"The skipper of a fishing boat which sank off the County Down coast killing two people has been sentenced to 12 months in prison."

This is despite the very brave appeal from one of the victim's mothers

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7470012.stm

Basically the boat ran into rocks and sunk - the skipper should have been in the wheelhouse but was on deck helping the crew. He failed to keep a proper watch.

Obviously he was in the wrong for that BUT the 2 crew were also experienced - they were obviously quite happy for him to be out of the wheelhouse as well.

Jailing the skipper has achieved nothing.
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Old 26 June 2008, 09:08   #2
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He failed to keep a proper watch.
and as a direct result two people died. I don't see the argument that if he showed poor seamanship, ignored the colregs, and managed to run his own boat onto rocks in his home waters that he is not "to blame". He did plead guitly to manslaughter - so actually arguing that it was purely an accident doesn't stack up.

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Obviously he was in the wrong for that BUT the 2 crew were also experienced - they were obviously quite happy for him to be out of the wheelhouse as well.
That is suposition and speculation; and as I am sure you are aware the safety and well-being of the vessel is the skipper's responsibility.

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Jailing the skipper has achieved nothing.
but you could argue that with almost every negligent manslaughter case... the argument would be it was an accident and people have learned from it. On the otherhand it should send a message that this sort of approach to the safety of your employees is not acceptable, and has consequences.
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Old 26 June 2008, 09:10   #3
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WHY? Because there is no such thing anymore - they always want to blame someone. . . .
Jailing the skipper has achieved nothing.
Are you complaining about the sentence, or the fact that he was prosecuted in the first place?

I don't know anything like enough about this incident to even have an opinion about whether he should have been jailed or not, but there seems little doubt that it wasn't an unavoidable accident [1].

The had a responsibilty to ensure the safety of his crew. For one reason or another, he appears to have neglected that responsibility with tragic consequences. Is that acceptable?

John

[1] Ironically, in one of your links there is the story of Paul Bogues who was killed in a genuine "accident" when he was hit by a freak wave . . .
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Old 26 June 2008, 10:09   #4
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The crew were old enough to be as aware of the risks as the skipper. It doesn't exactly take much common sense - surely the crew should have realised as well?

On a small fishing boat the distinction between the skipper and the crew tends to be far more blurred than on a ferry for example.

The family of the poor people who drowned obviously felt the same - if they felt there was no need to jail the skipper then surely their wishes should have been taken into account?

Next they will be prosecuting skippers for not forcing the crew to wear lifejackets.
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Old 26 June 2008, 10:33   #5
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On a small fishing boat the distinction between the skipper and the crew tends to be far more blurred than on a ferry for example.
I don't believe it's "blurred" on any type of craft whatsoever.

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Next they will be prosecuting skippers for not forcing the crew to wear lifejackets.
Not until it becomes a legal requirement.
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Old 26 June 2008, 11:53   #6
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surely the crew should have realised as well?
I dont think thats a fair argument. The crew are just that. A skipper has the ultimate responsibility for his boat.

With that logic you may as well start questioning the differences between good crew and bad crew

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if they felt there was no need to jail the skipper then surely their wishes should have been taken into account?
Maybe the judge did,.. by reducing the tariff over what he would otherwise have imposed.

In the same vein as any other, the driver, skipper, must be in control of his/her vehicle or boat, and that is no one elses responsibility but theirs
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Old 26 June 2008, 12:29   #7
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I don't believe it's "blurred" on any type of craft whatsoever.
What about a husband and wife - or as in my case two brothers or friends with a boat jointly owned? My brother and I both fight for the wheel most of the time.

A very different scenario from a large ship where there is a proper master - first officer etc etc.

A suspended sentance could just as easily have been given and would have served just as well as even the family felt the man had received enough "punishment" as it was.
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Old 26 June 2008, 13:31   #8
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What about a husband and wife - or as in my case two brothers or friends with a boat jointly owned? My brother and I both fight for the wheel most of the time.
Well that is clearly not the case here. However I don't get what you are arguing: if I kill someone when driving my car through lack of attention can I share the responsibility/penalty etc with my wife in the passengers seat? maybe she should tell me to slow down, or watch out for the cyclist, etc...

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A suspended sentance could just as easily have been given and would have served just as well as even the family felt the man had received enough "punishment" as it was.
the judge obviously felt differently and had presumably had a chance to review the evidence, and listen to arguments from both prosecution and defence on the sentencing. Fortunately sentencing in the UK is performed by judges (who are to a large extent free from outside influence) not by the victims of crime (or their families) nor by internet forums... ...otherwise an outspoken few would have allsorts walking free, and minor offences punished with life in prison.
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Old 26 June 2008, 13:41   #9
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I wouldn't take judges impartiallity or sense of fairplay too seriously if I were you.............

There have been plenty of cases where a judge has given a stupidly short term to some evil scumbag and then given way too long for some trivial crime.
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Old 26 June 2008, 15:19   #10
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I agree Codders , I don't see what a prison sentence has achieved in this case .
I epect they were all close firiends and families and what the skipper has to live with is punishment enough , maybe he shouldn't skipper a boat again but thats another argument .
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